Three new kneelers – embroidered cushions used for people to kneel on during prayer – have been created for the St. Aidan’s Chapel in Bradford Cathedral.

These kneelers were designed by a group in late 2019, headed up by Elsie Clarke, and based on some initial work by another member, Brigitte Batteux. The design reflects the middle of the tapestries hanging in St. Aidan’s Chapel, which represents Bradford – or Bradford Dale as it was then.

Following approval by the Chapter of Bradford Cathedral, guide outlines for the colours were created by Elsie and her husband, David, before work was paused during the pandemic.

The canvas for the kneelers was donated anonymously by another member of the group and the wool by yet another.

Resuming in late June 2022, a team of fifteen regular members of ‘Stitching@Bradford Cathedral’ – plus many more contributors, who have all been gathered in a book of names – stitched the kneelers, before they were sent off to Colne-based Swankies for upholstering earlier this year. The cost of upholstery was borne by the Friends of Bradford Cathedral. Now completed and placed in the Chapel, the kneelers will be dedicated as part of the 10:15am service on Wednesday 31st July 2024.

The team are now hard at work on their latest project – three further kneelers, this time for the Lady Chapel, with designs created by Polly Meynell and based on the Morris & Co altar frontal.

The Revd Ned Lunn, Canon for Intercultural Mission and the Arts, says:
“The Stitchers are a significant part of the life of our Cathedral community. It is just as much fellowship and socialising as it is about actual stitching and many of our regulars speak of the healing and encouragement they have experienced around the canvases. Each stitch of these kneelers, as with the other examples of their work, has been made with love and care. These are labours of love and I am thankful for the times I have shared with others as we have made them.

“As we look to 2025 and continue to ask what it means to ‘weave Jesus into the rich fabric of our city and beyond’, this community of stitchers model something special and hopeful for us all. There is a saying amongst the stitchers: “Everyone adds their stitch” whether you are experienced or have never held a stitching needle before, you are welcome to add your stitch.

“Next year we hope to co-create a large communal tapestry with the help of as many Bradfordians as possible. We will also explore, in more depth, our shared wool history in a programme of events around the tapestry project. Come and join us and add your stitch.”

Jill Wright of ‘Stitching@Bradford Cathedral’, says:
“An enormous amount of dedication and care goes into the work of this group and we’d love to welcome new members.”

The stitching group meets fortnightly in the Cathedral.

To find out more about ‘Stitching@Bradford Cathedral’, please contact the Bradford Cathedral office on 01274 77 77  20 or e-mail

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